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The Witch of Voodoo Isle


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#61 Sir Turtlelot

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 11:42 PM

As everyone was going to sleep for the night, Turtlelot began to reflect upon the day. When they first arrived on the island, they were greeted by Tsume, and then by Bob and his followers. That was one positive thing for the day, friendly natives. Not-so-friendly natives usually caused problems for everyone. So far during their journey through the jungle they were attacked by two creatures, the demon boar and the golem. Both of which were trials from the witch. Turtlelot wondered if all of her trials were going to be 'slay the monster' or if she had some more interesting ones for the next day or so, however long it took them until they reached her.

That brought Turtlelot to his next thought, who was going to be next. So far Leo & Jordan had already accomplished their trial, but who was next. By his count, Selena, Rhia, Synile, & himself were left. He wondered if Tsume, the wolf, or any of the soldiers would have one as well. He would find these things out in the days to follow.

Turtlelot sat down at the trunk of a tree, and closed his eyes. He had gone back into his meditative state.

Hours passed before he snapped back into reality. The camp was quiet, most everyone was asleep save for the guards. He decided to get up and explore a bit. He walked just outside of the camp and began observing their surroundings, although it wasn't long before he noticed something out of place. As he walked towards it, it became more and more clear. It appeared to be a small shack. Turtlelot looked back towards the camp, but he was out of eyesight. He examined the shack and then went inside. Who lives all the way out here in the middle of the jungle. he thought to himself. Someone had been there recently, it was perfectly clean. All that was inside it was a blanket with another blanket on top of it in the corner and a small table in the center of the one room. On the walls were an assortment of weapons, many different kinds of swords and polearms. Some warrior must live here, but where are they? Turtlelot thought. Most people would be asleep this time of night.

He walked back outside the hut and looked around the camp grounds for any possible tracks. He spotted some, and they were recent too. As he followed them, they stopped at the base of a tree, Turtlelot looked up to see a man at the top of it, looking towards the Calatian camp.

Edited by Sir Turtlelot, 02 May 2010 - 11:53 PM.


#62 Ikiosho

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 12:04 AM

Ikiosho was sitting atop a tree. Ikiosho had been waiting, watching quietly for a long time. It was a hard trip, from his mainland to here, using only what he had and could craft himself. But his search in a new land paid off. He spotted a camp ahead. This group ahead seemed to be full of sleeping warriors, but would they find him friend or foe?

He decided to wait until morning to see. If need be, he could always follow his tracks back to his temporary home quietly. He felt an air that he who watched, had been seen. At first it was just rustling, he brushed it away in his mind as an animal passing by and he remained still. But as it grew closer and louder, he looked quickly down to see a figure beneath him, staring right back.

Startled and sensing potential threat, he immediately drew his hankyū and fired several arrows downwards. The figure deflected the attempt with his weapon, and Ikiosho grabbed his polearm and jumped down and thrust his fork-spear as he fell, catching the stranger's weapon between the blades.

Edited by Ikiosho, 03 May 2010 - 12:06 AM.


#63 Sir Turtlelot

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 12:13 AM

Turtlelot acted quickly as the man shot arrows down at him. He deflected several of the arrows with his spear head. Turtlelot looked back up to see the man falling towards him with his weapon being thrust at him. Turtlelot raised his spear in defense, as the man's fork-like spear landed on the center of Turtlelot's spear, he then pushed up and the man flew back behind Turtlelot and fell hard on the ground.

As Turtlelot approached the warrior, he thought to himself. Perhaps a spy, or maybe just a local who felt the need to defend his land. Let's hope for the second. Turtlelot raised his spearhead under the man's chin. "Drop your weapon, I don't want to hurt you." There was a bit of irony in his statement, since hitting the ground probably did hurt, although there wasn't much else to do in that situation.

Turtlelot stood perfectly still as he waited for the man to respond. Hopefully this would end peacefully. He didn't want their fighting to wake the others.

#64 Selena

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 02:01 AM

Lena wasn't tired. With everyone starting to fall asleep and wind down for the night, Lena not being tired meant that Lena was very bored. She'd gone through the motions of getting ready for sleep by putting her gear away and tying her hammock up to a pair of trees. Let the others have their more conventional beds. The hammock was comfortable, especially when it gently rocked in the wind. She got inside, put a nice fur blanket over herself, and looked up at the brilliant stars above. It was nice. Very nice. ...It wasn't putting her to sleep, though. The only excitement was when Turtlelot wandered off, and Selena couldn't be bothered to go chase after him.

So, how did she pass the time until she was tired enough to get some sleep? Most of these people were strangers, so she didn't know how to tease them properly. She'd already eaten her fill of whatever animal the guides had killed on their way in, so she couldn't wind down by snacking. She didn't care enough about the guides to make small talk with them. Selena looked at the camp and saw the white wolf again. She waved her hand back and worth and made some chirping noise with her lips, but, as always, the puppy-dog was too shy to come over and get pets. Bah. Whatever.

Synile was too far away from her to mess with unless she shot a ball of magic at his face, and Rhiannon was nestled up so peacefully that Selena didn't have the heart to mess with her. Yet.

She rolled until she was able to grab her spear off the ground. Grabbing the tail end of it, she extended her weapon until she could poke someone by the fire. She lightly tapped the spear blade against Jordan. Poke. Pokepokepoke.

Pokepokepokepoke.

"Hey. You."

#65 JRPomazon

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 02:11 AM

It was that fun hazy time when you're just about to fall asleep but you are still aware of yourself. Jordan opted to sleep once again with his armor on, a habit he'd developed from living in the Cursed Lands. Another nasty habit was being unable to sleep as well as he used to. Flashes would pop up, images of things better left unmentioned. Things he could never forget no matter how hard he tried.

Poke.

Jordan opened one eyes and looked around.

Poke.

Second Eye opened. He turned to find Selena prodding him with something blunt.

"Hey. You."

"Yes. Me. Are you enjoying prodding me?"

#66 Selena

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 02:26 AM

"Well, if you say it like that..."

Okay, she didn't really have much of gameplan with what she was doing, so now that she had his attention she didn't really know what to say. Couldn't suggest a healthy round of time-killing Loddie sex, because there were too many people right there and there were probably bears or boars or something out there in the woods. Rhiannon would disapprove, too, of course. Well. Erm.

"Good job on killing the rock guy-thing!" She gave a thumbs up. "You must have been everyone's first pick on your school's basketball team. If you even had one of those where you grew up. ....Where did you grow up, again?"

A better semi-tired nonsensical thought.

"I bet a wind lift beats having to take the stairs, too."

#67 JRPomazon

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 02:37 AM

Jordan looked back up to the sky, the stars obscured by the silhouettes of the tree tops.

"I grew up in Sornaiid. Lived with my parents till I was 16 and left. Wanted to be a knight in the Alliance but . . . well it didn't work out. So I just picked fights for a while till I met the man who taught me how to control the wind. He kicked my ass pretty hard."

"I bet a wind lift beats having to take the stairs, too."

"I try not to do it too much for things like that."

Best to not go into that in too much detail, this WAS Selena he was talking to.

"So, how did you become the fearsome Labyrinth warrior and Calatia leader that everyone seems to know and love? It doesn't seem like the kinda thing you are born into."

#68 Crimson Lego

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 07:17 PM

A raccoon. One freaking raccoon had nearly caused a massive commotion.

Lowering his rifle as he stared down at the harmless creature which he thought was another monster sent by the witch, Leo merely grunted in response and walked off; he could see Selena talking to Jordan, probably about their recent battles or the payment that would be exchanged. The other Calatians, including Synile and Rhiannon, were taking their share of the sleeping. Tossing his rifle to one side and pulling out his axe, the dwarf rested it on his right shoulder as he left the small camp and walked deeper into the dark forests. Here, in the midst of the trees, he was able to feel as relaxed and peaceful as possible. The earth has something about it that can calm you down no matter what. If he ever had a chance, perhaps Leo would find a magician that had the ability to restore trees and life to the Cursed Lands; from there, he would set out across the rest of the world and try to help anybody else that was affected by the Cataclysm.

Of course, killing Chikara and blowing up the Arbiter’s Grounds could be a better way to restore Verden to its former glory and splendor. Unfortunately, the crazy goddess seemed to be invincible, the Quadrate that helped rule Koridai would never turn on her, and the only useful weapon that the Calatians could have was reportedly on this continent, in the hands of a witch. Since the second challenge had ended, the dwarf had no doubt that the whole thing was genuine, but he sometimes found himself wondering why the witch wouldn’t just hand it over, get rid of Chikara, and then do the challenges later. If she’s sympathetic to our cause, surely she’d do everything to help us out. Perhaps Bob was right about not letting just anybody have the power, but Leo felt that the Calatians had been through enough to have earned it. Sighing in resignation, he continued trudging forward, using his battleaxe as a walking stick.

Seeing the familiar metal figure of Sir Turtlelot in the distance, the general changed his walking direction slightly and began walking towards the ‘man’. What’s he doing out here alone? he pondered. All of a sudden, arrows began flying down towards Turtlelot from above, who easily deflected them with his weapon. Gripping his axe tightly in his right hand, Leo was about to leap in and help out until he heard the metal man say, “Drop your weapon, I don’t want to hurt you.” Stopping in mid-step, Leo moved forward slowly and silently, trying to get a good glimpse of the stranger, who appeared to be up in one of the many trees. He doesn’t seem Koridaian; perhaps a native of Korento? Better yet, the man was probably one of the challenges. Remembering the unspoken rule about no interference, Leo put his axe away in his sash and sat down on a large rock to watch the impending battle between the two. It should be interesting to watch him fight; I wonder how what his style would be like with all that armour on.

------------------------------

In the darkness, a pair of eyes watched the dwarf as he walked past. Soon, they disappeared into the shadows.

The owner of the eyes had a job of his own, and he had no intention of screwing it up this time.

#69 Steel Samurai

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 07:30 PM

A black fog began to rise from the ground.

Slowly, subtly, it rose so that none could see below their ankles . . . then knees . . . and finally, all was darkness.

A voice echoed from the midst of the blackness.

"Selena. Do not think you shall escape from your fate as easily as the others." The voice . . . was that of Keel's.

Something snaked out, wrapping around each of her arms and legs. They were cold, slimy . . . tentacles.

And then before her was Rhiannon . . . broken and bleeding.

#70 Ikiosho

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 10:03 PM

This entity was clearly prepared and equipped for Ikiosho's strike and he suddenly felt the presence of another being nearby, an ally? He assessed the outcomes of his potential actions in a split-second Well if I... There's the chance that... Does he...? Ultimately, Ikiosho decided it would be best to drop his weapon and cooperate with the stranger. What's the worst that could happen? Get tortured, beaten? That almost happened to him in the past few days anyways, he'd make it.

"I have nothing to fight for, except my honor and future," stated Ikiosho as his spear rattled on the ground. "I was banished by my new-born island kingdom, and I come in search of an honorable clan to pledge myself to. I am Ikiosho, the ambitious." He bows.

Ikiosho is not sure what to expect from the large, metal being that holds him at his mercy. He's preparing himself for anything from small talk, to high-speed retreat. He's put a lot behind him, and he has hope for a good future.

#71 Selena

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 10:45 PM

In one minute, she was pestering Jordan, and in another minute, she was in every woman's absolute worst nightmare. For as much as she cared about Rhiannon, a corpse was a corpse. If Rhiannon had truly perished, then Selena could whip out the ol' tome and bring her back from the dead a second time. Perhaps. In theory. "Rhiannon" could wait. The goddamn tentacles could not. Was it a trick of the eyes? Had the witch cursed her vision? Was she really being held in place by her peers as she thrashed around in her nightmare? Well, then they'd quickly learn not to do that again.

As always, her dagger was strapped to her belt. With all of her limbs bound by a beast that no doubt wanted to become more intimate than she would have liked, she needed to find a way to free herself. How do you do that when all of your limbs are bound? She tried pulling herself free, but that did no good. She didn't like her last option, but the sharp canines most Labyrinth denizens had came in handy at times. She pulled her right arm closer, looking at the disgusting tentacle wrapped around her wrist. It-was-just-calamari, it-was-just-calamari.

With a motivational roar, Selena lurched forward and caught the tentacle in her teeth, biting as hard as her jaw muscles would allow. Oh, god, the taste. It was.... salty. And gross. And wrong. But she continued to apply pressure, and within moments the tentacle-rape-monster withdrew that tentacle. Her right arm free, Selena reached down and pulled out her trusty dagger from Chik's former sheath. She hacked through the tentacle binding her left arm. Then the one on her left leg. Right leg. All four tentacles retreated into the shadowy depths.

She dropped to the ground and scrambled for her spear, fingertips eventually bumping against it in the darkness. She replaced the dagger and brought the spear into proper position before approaching the figure of Rhiannon. No, this was an illusion. It had happened too fast for it to be real. They were dealing with a witch, and that was not to be forgotten. Selena looked down at the sight of her battered apprentice and gently nudged Rhia's forehead with her boot. No return movement. Expired. Shuffled off the mortal coil. Extinct. Dead. If the tentacles had gotten to her, the death really was the better way to go.

The others? No sight of them in the dark.

What of Keel's voice? That cloaked bastard always managed to make her life miserable. How's the witch know of him? Reading her mind? Perfect. Selena braced herself for some other attack. Stupid witch.


I heard that.

Good.

#72 Sir Deimos

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 12:05 AM

Synile was laying on the cold ground, staring into the starry sky. Sleep was fleeting. It was a long day, but more depressingly Synile had yet to receive his trial. If earlier in the day was any type of indication, they'd all involve numerous ass beatings, and if there was one thing Synile loved to do it was flaunt his prowess. He was certainly looking forward to being able to show off in front of the group.

"..ile...."

The heat was nearly unbearable. Sure there were cool breezes, but this was most definitely a different style of climate compared to the snowy mountain peak he had become accustomed to. It suit him, cold was much more preferable to heat. Fighting raised body temperature, so it was always easy to stay warm. The heat of a good fight was addictive.

"Sy...."

It was much easier to fall asleep in the cold too. In the bitter cold there was nothing better than having a bed full of women.

"Synile..." His head perked up and looked around the camp. It was too soft to have come from a far, and the only other people around were asleep... But there was definitely something calling his name.

"It's a trap. You should go anyway."

"I'm going to go anyway, of course it's a trap. But a trap down here means a trial. And a trial means it may be time to bust out the Muramasa II."

"Synile... Where are you?" Synile grabs his weapons, and wanders off from the group. The voice seems to be getting louder. He was well away from the clearing by now, and stood before a lake, shimmering in the moonlight. A lone woman is standing, facing Synile. She is up to his shoulders, with long flowing black hair, and piercing green eyes. Her pale skin is shimmering in the light, and contrasts heavily with the tattered black dress the woman is wearing. "Honey... It's so good to see you. You look well, my son."

An electric charge runs through Synile's body. The hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Synile falls to his knees. "Mother..." Shock replaces the confident look Synile wore earlier. "You... You should be dead... I lost you at sea over six hundred years ago..."

"And yet, you still stand, my son. And you don't look any more than ten years older than the last time I saw you. My beautiful boy. Have you been doing okay?" The look on her face was that of genuine concern. For the first time in hundreds of years, the voices in Synile's head were completely silent. None of the personalities in his head could find words.

"You died because I couldn't save you." Synile choked back tears. "I haven't had to fight tears back in a good many decades..."

"My son, are you worried about your warrior friends seeing you cry? My noble little Synile... You so desperately wanted to save everybody. What happened? You smell of blood. What happened to your innocence..?"

"... The people can't be saved. They don't want to be saved! They just want to wallow in self pity, trying to get other to acknowledge how difficult life is. Life isn't difficult. It's simple. People just want there to be more to life." Synile is embraced by his mother, and she walks him over to the lakes edge. They wade out until the water level is knee deep. The water glitters under the moonlight, and seems to shift, changing into a view of a farmhouse. Synile is shown in the reflection, working in a field, with a woman who's face cannot be seen. The water briefly reflects his life on the farmhouse. It was a happy and simple life. In the reflection Synile and his wife have several children.

"This is the life you could have led... had you not stayed in that stuffy cavern. You would have died a happy and virtuous man... But now... you've stained your hands with the worst of offenses."

"... Mother... I am not the boy you knew before the attack..."

"No, you aren't. You're a murderer now! A horrible monster of a man. You wanted to be a great swordsman. You got what you desired. Your name is synonymous with murder, rape and pillaging. You fell pray to the Labyrinth! You let a red headed bitch rob you of your soul! You have fallen from grace and now live in madness! Even now you're trying to convince yourself this is a hallucination."

Synile's hands begin to tremble. His eyes gaze out into the tide, over the faces of the children he could have fathered.

"You chose murder over those children you were supposed to have! That damned Labyrinth changed your fate! You were supposed to grow up noble, and pure! Loved by all! Heralded as a hero!"

"I AM NO HERO! I couldn't even save my own parents."

"And so you shun that side of you completely? It's better to choose complete evil, than risk losing something precious again? Or is that it? You treasure them don't you. Your comrades. Chikara. Selena. Those manipulative and murderous bitches!"

"SHUT YOUR DAMNED MOUTH!"

"Synile... my precious little boy... Whether you see it or not... you still have the potential... You can still do good things. It is up to you as to whether or not you wish to do them. You still can be the hero..." Synile wanders deeper into the lake, the water now reaching his chest, and stares endlessly into the reflections of his other life.

"In this reflection... I'd be long dead. I lived this long for a reason. I have a purpose to fulfill..." Synile gazes back into the eyes of his dead mother. "You are dead. Now leave me in peace, shade...

Synile walks out of the lake, and turns back to face the surface of the water. Its' view has returned to that of a normal lake, with a subtle breeze. The woman was gone. Staring into the water, Synile notices a man dressed very similarly, standing knee deep in the lake.

"There is no peace to be had for you." Synile was shocked again. That was his own voice coming from the man ahead of him. Stepping out of the lake, the stranger lowers his hood, to reveal Synile's face. The only difference is this Synile has no visible scar on his face, and is alternatively clad in pure white. Synile also notes the other him is lacking a certain cursed nodachi. With a dash parallel Synile is on him in seconds. Synile struggles to draw his blade quick enough to defend the first strike. Several follow up attacks are exchanged. All of Synile's attacks are easily parried, where as Synile himself can barely deflect the strikes of his clone.

"This is unreal."

"No. This is the strength you'd command if you had retained your sanity. My actions are unclouded, and pure." Synile draws his nodachi. After exchanging several blows, Synile still manages to just barely fend off the impending death strikes.

"Strength isn't skill alone. I've learned that. Strength comes from having something to protect. I won't let anyone down, I'll carry my weight. My mother claimed that I was less of a person for the path I chose to walk. I disagree. That path has shown me all of what life has to offer. Is it just? No. But I have my fun."

"You'll die by my hand, you murderous bastard!" The pure Synile charges at lightning speed, with the tip of his katana aimed straight for Synile's chest. Facing his opposite, Synile stands his ground. Seconds before the blade makes contact with Synile's flesh, he grabs the katana with his left hand, and guides the blade from the heart to his own left shoulder. Synile uses the brief shock to impale his other self with the nodachi, and lifts him off the ground. The white clad Synile coughs blood.

"My strength comes from the path I walk. Talk is just talk without the strength to prove it." Synile throws the white clad Synile from his sword in one swing. As his body hits the ground, he shatters into thousands of pieces. Looking over the scene... it was a mirror.

That was my favorite mirror... Oh well. I was hoping you wouldn't fail, and you certainly didn't disappoint. Now be a dear and go fetch me some of the shards. I need them back.

"Hahahahah. That was a trial..." Synile gathers up several of the larger shards of mirrored glass and heads back towards the others. "Someone better stitch up my shoulder in the morning... This hurts more than I anticipated..."

#73 Sir Turtlelot

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 01:40 AM

"I have nothing to fight for, except my honor and future, I was banished by my new-born island kingdom, and I come in search of an honorable clan to pledge myself to. I am Ikiosho, the ambitious." the fallen man said to Turtlelot.

Turtlelot gazed down at the man for a brief moment before pulling his spear away from him. He bent down and picked up the man's spear. After looking at it he said "This is of an interesting material." Turtlelot handed the man his spear after he was done observing it.

"My name is Sir Turtlelot. You fight well Ikiosho, however, don't let your ambition take control of you, always think before acting." Turtlelot lectured. "Perhaps one day we can have a more formal rematch."

Turtlelot examined Ikiosho, he didn't seem all too old, maybe in his twenties, perhaps even his thirties. From what he wore, it seemed he focused more on stealth and agility as apposed to strength. "Though you are looking for a clan to pledge yourself to, it isn't my place to accept or deny you into Calatia. However, if you stop by the camp in the morning when everyone is awake, I'm sure you can introduce yourself to the others and go from there."

Looking over to the side, Turtlelot saw Leo sitting atop a rock. "Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to continue my nightly stroll."

And with that, Turtlelot walked over to Leo. "My apologies if I spoiled your chances for some late night entertainment, General." Turtlelot said humorously. "Care to go for a walk?"

#74 JRPomazon

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 04:12 PM

As the quick fog rolled in, Jordan rushed to grab one of his spears as Selena was grabbed by the beast. He couldn't make out what was happening, the very idea of not knowing what was going on was horrifying. No, calm down. You finished your trial already, this isn't targeting you. Relax. Jordan stood up and calmly took one of his spears, pointing the blade towards the earth. He stuck his spear softly into the ground, a gentle breeze moved the fog away from him in all directions. As the scene became visible again, he previous notions of panic had ceased. That was, of course, until he looked over to see Selena fighting some sort of tentacle monstrosity.

#75 Rhiannon

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 05:26 PM

Rhiannon was fast asleep. She was also dreaming. At home when she slept she had a canopy bed that enclosed her in, shutting out the rest of the world. Here, she was out in the open. As insignificant as it might seem, this was important. When Rhiannon had particularly bad dreams, the images in her mind intensified so much that she would call upon object without even realizing it. This was one of those times.

Rhia's body tossed and turned. Yet in her mind she was perfectly still. Rhia could hear sounds, people talking. Everyone was asleep but two beds were empty. She got up and tiptoed around camp, careful not to wake anyone else. Rhiannon moved into the forest and heard voices getting louder. She was just about to reach their clearing when something hit her in the face. It felt like an invisible hand, but Rhia tried to stay calm. She felt warm drops dripping from her nose. "Ow," she said, trying to stop the flow as best she could. Suddenly, another hit from behind and this was was much more painful. Rhiannon tried to defend herself but couldn't see a thing. The invisible being continued to hit, punch, kick, whatever it could. Suddenly she saw through the bushes to the clearing, there was Jordan standing with his spear ready to lunge and a big dark cloud. Slowly the cloud began to drift away leaving the image of Selena fighting a tentacled monster. With her last breath, she managed to cough up one loud...

Rhiannon screamed. It wasn't blood curdling, but loud enough to wake a few birds who flew from the nearby trees. Rhia awoke in a cold sweat. Her body shaking and sore. She felt her arms and face, there was no blood or bruising that she could see in the dark. She looked around her and almost everyone was gone. She had never felt so alone.

"This can't be my test." She sighed in frustration and unease. Getting up slowly, she walked stiffly to the nearest body of water to wash her face. The cold water woke her up fully in an instant and the only thought that came to her mind was Selena.

#76 Crimson Lego

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 07:22 PM

“Not a problem,” said Leo in response to Turtlelot’s question. At the moment, he was rather impressed with how the metal man had dealt with the stranger and literally disarmed him with words. “Nice job back there,” he added as the duo walked on with no destination in mind. “I didn’t actually think he would give up his weapon without a fight, but you handled it pretty well.” The dwarf was too far away to hear what Turtlelot had said to the stranger, but it seemed to have worked very effectively. That’s the mark of a solid diplomat; he would be a useful one someday. Throughout his life, he had seen more than enough people that could talk down entire battalions using only their mouths. What they used was probably a lot different from what Turtlelot had used, but it was definitely an amazing way to win any war.

Pushing past a large branch in his way, Leo gazed up at the starry skies; he could have sworn he heard a loud roar somewhere near the camp that sounded a lot like Selena. It could have been Synile; that would something I wouldn’t want to miss, he thought, grinning at the same time. Crossing his arms as he walked down a dirt path, the dwarf found himself near a cliff overlooking the ocean. “You’ll be staying with us in Calatia permanently once this is all over, right?” he asked Turtlelot.

#77 tsume

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 07:57 PM

Tsume, as before, kept to himself on the journey to find this witch he had no clue even existed. The idea of following these people he barely knew into dangerous situations was stupid but he found it exciting and couldnt just leave them. It seemed that this witch had been giving trials or tests to all of the "big" heads on this journey. Tsume wondered if he would get one, and if he did, then when would it be. He kept a close eye on everyone and everything around him as he went along. He hasnt had any contact with anyone in the group for he would stay about 1/4 of a mile behind them as to not impose on them. If they wished for him to join their group in the war or just to join to dine, he would wait for them to approach him. He didnt want to upset them somehow and possibly start a fight. He has taken notice of the many abilities these people possessed. Controlling of the wind, sword masters, magic, and even a giant suit of armor (Turtlelot). Tsume though he could probably handle the suit of armor but the rest he wasnt so sure about. Tsume was a large man and was extremely strong but the only skill he had was with his staff and he just so conveniently left it at home leaving him with his sword. The sword lay across his back in a sheath. He didnt know much about the sword and knew even less about to truly wield it. He just liked the way it made him look even more intimidating. If he was to come upon a trial or a serious fight he would surely be at a disadvantage.

#78 Selena

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 09:15 PM

The darkness was blown back by Jordan, once again bathing their campsite in natural moonlight. The images of a battered Rhiannon vanished along with the inky dark, but the real one was still nowhere to be found. Synile was also gone. That wasn't good. Perhaps they had been taken by the horrible monster that had insulted Selena's pride. The severed tentacles were wriggling their way back into the trees. Going back to the master, were they? Selena would make quick work of it and have her revenge. Without warning, she sprinted into the trees in the direction the tentacles were heading, feet barely touching the ground as she fled the camp. She found the hulking monster waiting in the undergrowth. Six long tentacles emerged from the branches as a low, slimy body slithered out into the open. One of the tentacles lashed out at her. She rolled forward, beneath the strike and closer to the beast's main body. She stabbed out with her spear, hitting the monster on its side. It howled - a low, guttural sound. A second tentacle wrapped itself around her waist and flung her back ten feet. She landed on her shoulder, but it wasn't rough enough to cause any damage. She rolled back up.

Two tentacles came at her at once. A swing of her spear severed them from their master. Then, Selena stopped. The deep puncture wound she inflicted on the beast's side reformed, and all the tentacles she had severed thus far crawled back onto the monster - merging into its flesh. Flesh regeneration. Oh, but there was always a vulnerable core somewhere, even if she had to find and stab the monster's heart using the full length of her weapon. She held her hand out and shot a ball of chaotic energy into her foe's body. It did nothing. The spell hit a barrier that wasn't really there, the energy diffusing after a bright impact. Well, so much for the magical side of her arsenal.

You use the power of chaos. There is a great price to be paid for using such techniques. Chaos does not undo chaos.

The tentacle monster suddenly split into three segments and reformed into a trio of gigantic, long-limbed spiders that stood nearly as tall as Selena did. Their fangs dripped with venom and Selena, with her infamous arachnophobia, couldn't help but backpedal in sudden fright at their appearance. When her right foot came down, the ground gave way. Sticks, leaves, and one shocked Selena tumbled into a long, thin tunnel. She slid down until a final drop landed her into the middle of a black cavern. No problem for Selena. She'd been raised in the underground and could see just fine. She looked up at the top of the tunnel, seeing the stars in the distance. Then, the figures of the spiders, all crawling down the tunnel to hunt her down.

Gah! Shape shifting tentacle-rape-spider-monster!

She looked around the cavern for any decent terrain and found none. There were tunnels that led off into the unknown, but the current chamber was large enough to fight in. No sense in risking a move into a small arena. Selena firmly planted her feet, linking herself with the earth, and awaited her guests. With three ear-piercing screeches, the fiends came down from the tunnel entrance and began to circle her. Fast little fuckers! One lunged at her, and Selena leapt into the air, coming back down upon it. She stabbed the spider's back end with her spear and pulled, ripping it open. She dismounted and found a second coming at her at top speed, legs crawling over each other in a mad dash. It attempted to bite, but Selena leapt to the side and stabbed out with her weapon, piercing it on the side of the head. With a howl, it hit the ground. The third charged her straight on, and rather than do any fancy footwork, Selena dropped to a knee and used her weapon to strike the monster between all eight eyes. Screw spiders. She wasn't afraid of anything. Not really.

Except, perhaps, the corpses of her three enemies once again shapeshifting into a thousand and a half baby huntsman spiders, all to come crawling up Selena's limbs until they covered her body. She would have screamed, but she didn't want them to climb into her mouth. Her body swarmed by the things, she dropped her spear out of fear and released a wave of Lazu's magic out as far and fast as she could, sending a shockwave off her body that threw the little bastards up against the cavern's walls.

Once again, they gathered and began to reform.

It was Keel's voice this time. You are a cheap imitation and nothing else! She knows all of your tricks - taught you them in the first place! She can do them all and better! You will fail if you rise to challenge her. Your art of backstabbing is useless against one who can see all, and battle tactics are irrelevant when facing a woman who can destroy entire lands in one fell swoop.

Her beast turned into a unit of enemy warriors, and all were from various backgrounds hostile to Selena. Hall knights. Chamber sages. Desert Defenders. Alliance soldiers. Pirates, Woodies, and Kakkies, oh my. An Alliance soldier shot an arrow at her, and she dodged with speed only centuries of training and Lazu's influence could give her. She tapped her to the Kanagida's power, allowing it to fuel her primal instincts so that it might increase her violence and battle lust. Before the crossbowman could fire again, Selena sprinted forward and pierced his stomach, spear driving right through his armor. Her muscles tightened, the power of the Kanagida - the power of Lazu - fueling her cells. With a battle cry, she deflected the attack of a sword-wielding Hall knight and stabbed him through the face. She bashed another in the head with the rear end of her weapon, stunning him long enough to duck beneath a fireball fired by the Chamber sage. One by one, they fell, until only a dark knight of the village was left to face her. The warrior brought down an axe, but she dodged and moved to attack. Her spear went right through him, but he did not seem bothered, standing as if he were waiting in a line.

The witch's voice. You are just a mortal that has overstayed her welcome in this world because of chaotic power. Your skills against other mortal warlords do not matter. You could crush the other rulers of the planet, yet still be defeated at the hands of a god. You are a defiant priestess, and that is all.

The dark knight impaled by her spear shrank at by at least two feet and a hundred pounds. Black, spiked armor vanished and was replaced by a lighter combat suit. Features became feminine, hair going from black to red.

You are not a human. You are a savage beast. You know nothing beyond fighting. You have no companions - only tools to be exploited as necessary. You do not feel emotion, but you will feel pain.

The warrior had become Chikara, who was still not bothered by the fact that the spear was impaled through her stomach. Bah! It was a trap!

In fact, Chikara smiled, reached behind her, and bent the spear tip so that it could not be removed from her body. Selena tried in vain to yank it back out with all her strength, but it would not budge. Instead, "Chikara" charged her at inhuman speed, grabbing her by the throat with her familiar dark talon-nails. The speed of the impact knocked Selena's head against the cave wall, the force so great that it nearly knocked her cold. The vision of Chikara clamped down on her throat, interrupting her airway. Selena kicked her on the right side of her hip. It gave her more room. She took hold of her sprear and, instead of pulling, pushed the goddess away until she was no longer able to hold onto Selena's neck. She gasped for air.

"You BITCH!" Selena shouted, voice hoarse from the attempted choke. "I should have known that you'd be cowardly enought to lure me into a trap. Didn't want to fight my armies after all, did you? What sort of honorable fight is this? I'm not some useless Hall warrior. You're supposed to enjoy the war, not end it now."

Chikara listens to taunts. You can manipulate her in this way. The god does not care.

The goddess placed her hands back on the spear and sent a wave of fire down its length, burning Selena's fingers and arms. Selena released her hold on the weapon, and Chikara once again moved down its length until it exited through her back entirely. She shot forward and pinned Selena to the ground, shoving her nails into the same exact spot where the knife had stabbed her in the gut. Like four little daggers, the nails tore Selena's flesh once again, burning and bleeding. With her other arm, Chikara elbowed her in the face, cutting a small bit of flesh above her eye. Selena punched, but it did no good. She charged a chaotic beam of energy and released it into Chikara's chest, but the energy cut around her like river water against a bothersome rock, shooting into the top of the cavern and sending rocks down around her.

She released all the magic she had, enough to kill a whole horde of enemies at once, but it had the same effect. With Chikara still assaulting her, Selena heard the cavern groan and creak. The back began to cave in. The tunnel out was the first thing to go. Then it cascaded toward her. Chikara released her and Selena got up and ran, wounded to the point where it was a struggle to move, much less move quickly. She went down one of the other passageways, a narrow thing that led into further darkness. Chikara chased after her and, cornering her in the long, narrow passageway, she bent down like a runner.

Selena withdrew her dagger. She charged up what remaining magic she had.

When Chikara dashed toward her with a sword drawn, Selena release the power of Lazu, as she'd always been taught to master, and watched in horror as it did little to stop the goddess. She ran right through and, within a few parts of a single second, she felt Chikara's blade pierce her neck. Her vision went black. The cavern collapsed around the both of them.


...


She woke in a fully intact cavern an untold time later, no injuries and no tentacle-rape-spider-knight-Chikara-monsters. Everything was silent. The tunnel back out was still intact. Selena trembled as she stood back up, her hands barely able to hold onto her weapons. She looked around. Nothing, save for a single item on the cavern floor. Selena stumbled over and looked down. It was a clean human skull.

Take it. As proof of your failure, rather than proof of your success. You cannot win, thing of chaos.

You fucking hag! I am not a useless piece of flesh! I am a better warrior than anyone up there right now! I could dance circles around them and decapitate every single one of them in an instant! There is no one better equipped to fight with her! They don't stand a chance!

Then perhaps you should study order rather than chaos. Only order will undo it.

Do not insult me.

You are a spoiled, pampered brat. You are so confident that Chikara's favor will spare your life, and you never intended to actually kill her - not then, not now. Chikara will not be there when it matters. Only the god. The god values nothing. You ARE a useless piece of flesh in this war, and you will one day be driven out of your lands and left to wander alone on account of your sins against humanity. And you will go on killing until you become the demon-beast you are on the inside. You will be slain, and you will be forgotten.

Silence. Selena picked up the skull and hurled it against the cavern wall with a loud roar. It did not break. Rather, it rolled right back to her. She yelled again, loud as her lungs allowed, venting all her frustrations in that one exclamation. When it was over, her shoulders hunched over and her body weary, she reluctantly climbed back out of the tunnel and up to the surface. No beasts. No spiders. Nothing. Just the dark forest and the distant glow of the campfire.

She was the elite warrior of the group. She was supposed to have won. She was supposed to have won with no difficulty, making herself look like the invulnerable warrior she'd made herself out to be. Her pride couldn't take defeat. Internally, she felt as defeated as she really was, but she put her shoulders back and came back to the camp with a proud look upon her face.

She threw down the skull and rested her weight against the perfectly intact Kanagida spear.

"My trial is complete."

#79 JRPomazon

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 10:20 PM

As Selena returned, Jordan sighed and placed his spear back down by his things. She seemed rather proud of herself, as she should. Whatever that thing was, it looked hard to kill. However, the way she said it seemed a bit heavy, like too much frosting on a cake. But . . . she came back. Didn't that mean it was a success?

"Not bad, Selena."

Jordan didn't realize he had called her Selena rather than "Fossil".

"The drunk and the princess are both missing, you think they're being tested right now?"

Edited by JRPomazon, 07 May 2010 - 11:23 PM.


#80 Ikiosho

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 11:15 PM

This large metal man spoke back to Ikiosho.

"My name is Sir Turtlelot. You fight well Ikiosho, however, don't let your ambition take control of you, always think before acting. Perhaps one day we can have a more formal rematch. Though you are looking for a clan to pledge yourself to, it isn't my place to accept or deny you into Calatia. However, if you stop by the camp in the morning when everyone is awake, I'm sure you can introduce yourself to the others and go from there."

He pondered these words as Turtlelot left the area with the dwarf that had been watching. "don't let your ambition take control of you, always think before acting... if you stop by the camp..." "This man had just lectured me to think about my actions, then told me to stop by camp. A hint, perhaps?" But Turtlelot seemed to mean no harm, and if they were truly enemies, the dwarf and Turtlelot would have tried to kill Ikiosho. He sat on the stump where the dwarf was and thought about how to approach the situation.

A few minutes later, Ikiosho appeared at a distraught camp. He planned to take a friendly approach, rather than sneaking and getting startled like last time. Shooting arrows at someone you plan on helping doesn't seem like a good idea.
There appeared to be several people missing from their camp, and a young man speaking with a proud warrior-lady. Ikiosho casually approached the two and bowed.
"I am Ikiosho, how may I be of assistance?"

#81 Ken the Wandering Soul

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 12:36 AM

As the day closed, the wolf looked for his place to rest. After the Calatian's leader had tried to beckon him over another time he realized that, despite being around them, he did not really feel comfortable around these people. Instead of sleeping in the camp, the wolf went out a ways amongst the trees and found a satisfying place to lay down and rest.

Yet, even as he tried to sleep, he would periodically awaken to look at the starlit sky.

Soon, he could not push off the need to be awake.

He looked up at the bright moon as its light shined down upon the forest.

- - - ~ ( * ) ~ - - -

As many went through their trials, small, shy, barely audible howls could be heard drifting through the forest. As those trials found their ends, the howls grew louder, prouder.

It seem then, for a short time, that another voice had joined. There was the sound of a man, his voice bellowing in synchronization with the wolf's long howls.

Soon, the man's voice subsided, and the wolf's howls were again alone, trailing off into nothingness.

#82 Sir Turtlelot

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 04:35 PM

“Not a problem,” Leo said to Turtlelot, before they began to wander into the jungle. After walking some distance, Leo spoke to Turtlelot. “Nice job back there, I didn’t actually think he would give up his weapon without a fight, but you handled it pretty well.”

"Thank you Leo." Turtlelot said in response. "I'm glad the man chose to stop when he did, there was no point in continuing the fight, since he had already been defeated." They continued walking a bit before Turtlelot spoke up again. "After you've been in so many battles and wars, you eventually begin to realize how pointless fighting really is. There are so many better ways that problems can be resolved, people just seem to choose violence as the answer to all of their problems, usually because it's the only way they can achieve power and wealth or just because they are full of bloodlust and it's all they know."

Eventually the duo came to a clearing that overlooked the ocean. Turtlelot looked at the ocean again. Moonlight reflected off of the dark water. After some time of staring at the ocean Leo asked Turtlelot a question. “You’ll be staying with us in Calatia permanently once this is all over, right?”

Turtlelot took some time to think about Leo's question, as he had not given much thought to post-war events. After some time of thought Turtlelot replied to Leo. "One can never truly predict their own future, for all we know either myself or Calatia may not even exist after all of this is over. Assuming both do, it's still hard to say. I've never been one to pledge my loyalty to kingdoms or empires, since they are too easily corrupted and abused for the gain of few. Who is to say Calatia won't be the next Koridai." Turtlelot paused again and then spoke once more. "However, I have always pledged my loyalty to my friends and comrades, and considering that the only ones of those I have in this world reside in Calatia, chances are leaning to that I will, so long as it stays true to it's cause of freedom."

#83 Crimson Lego

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 08:28 PM

Nodding in satisfaction as he listened to Turtlelot’s final sentence, Leo chuckled and clapped the man on the upper arm, seeing as he couldn’t reach the shoulder. “I’m glad to hear that, friend. Right now, our Kingdom could use just about anybody that isn’t sympathetic to Chikara’s intentions.” Sighing as he looked out across the sea, the dwarf continued with his speech. “This whole thing started with the attack on Olimandias. In my opinion, Chikara was probably hiding in the Tower of the Gods, waiting for something to happen or for the Alliance to kill off the rest of the Coalition Domain members. Since I was under orders from Steel, who’s now a high-ranking official in Koridai, to get out of the city with as many men as possible, I did not witness any of the chaos that took place in Olimandias besides the initial raid.”

Pausing as he lifted up a small rock and hurled it down into the water, Leo resumed his story. “But during that period of time between our attack and the end, something happened in the Tower. By some foul means, Lazu was able to create an avatar out of Chikara, and thus used her to rain doom upon Verden. Thousands of people died; not very people made it out unless they were very lucky. From there, the rest of the continent was destroyed; Ikana Canyon was flooded; the Lost Woods were razed to the ground; and the Forsaken Fortress was destroyed in the boiling of the Lalvican Sea. From there, these two new realms were established, and we’ve been fighting each other for more than two years.”

Inhaling the fresh air, Leo turned to Turtlelot, a rather grim expression on his face. “Come on; let’s get back to the camp before they start wondering where we’ve gone to.”

#84 Steel Samurai

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 07:01 PM

As Rhiannon rushed back towards camp, something very odd began to happen. The forest around her seemed to warp and twist, branches elongating, leaves conforming to some unknown force of nature. And then it all began to fade, the color draining out of the world around her. It was not long before she was surrounded by pitch blackness, the very fabric of the world ripped away.


Child.

The witch's voice echoed in her mind.

Your heart is filled with uncertainty, young one. With chaos. And it does not lend you power, as the chaos of Labyrinth might. It serves only as a beacon to those who know how to bend that chaos to their own devices.

Reality twisted again, and she was in a bustling courtroom, seated upon a gilded throne.

"My queen!"

A rather pompous looking man in a blue brocaded military uniform stood in front of her, his monocle gleaming in the light of the chandeliers above.

"My queen! You must pass judgment on this man. He stands accused of trying to murder Sergeant Volkrim!"

There were two men before her, a burly farmer and a sergeant in the uniform of the Royal Calatian Navy.

The farmer spoke up.

"If I 'adn't a killed him, 'e'd a killed even more of them whores, just like he did my daughter!"

"You have no evidence of that!" The sergeant, a weedy, bookish looking fellow with a pair of glasses and a cast around his arm, seemed cool and collected. "'Sides, everyone knows how you kilt five men before me for trespassin'."

"There ain't been no discipline in the ranks since Selena was kilt." the farmer grumbled. "We'd've been better off with Koridai. At least they knew how t' treat their citizens and keep their soldiers in line."

Six children rushed to the front of the throne room, two going to the sergeant, three to the farmer.

"Please, Queen Rhiannon, spare our papa. We love him!" All six children spoke simultaneously, and when one looked in their eyes, one could tell that they all meant exactly what they were saying. There was no rehearsal, no falseness to their gaze.

The man in the monocle spoke once again.

"My queen! You must make a decision. The only one who can judge these men is you."

In the back of the room, a man stood casually against the wall, dressed in the clothes of a minor noble. His eyes were black as a cloudy night, and his hair flowed long and raven down his shoulders.

#85 Selena

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 10:53 PM

Selena looked at Jordan but said nothing, instead sitting down on her hammock and looking intently at the ground. That damned witch, she was just trying to prove a point - her statements weren't necessarily valid ones. Selena was a powerful warrior and long since graduated from the rank of not-so-humble apprentice. She had risen to meet all of Chikara's challenges of the years and had come out the victor in nearly every instance. She was cunning. Confident. Deadly. Chikara was holding back so that their game could continue on equal footing - use of the god's power would be considered cheating. Chikara wouldn't use it against Selena. It was the way they did things. Selena could wipe the smirks off the faces of Steel and the other members of the Quadrate and parade her armies through the streets of the Koridian capital within a few months. Even if Selena could not take Chikara down in single combat, then she could find a way to defeat her in more underhanded ways. It wasn't brute alone that won wars. Smarts had to count for something, and Selena had more of those than her rival did.

But Lazu was always there. Chikara hadn't stabbed Selena that day in the mountains - Lazu had. Chikara had been completely disconnected that day. There had been no taunting and no emotion in her eyes when she made "her" attack. Lazu had gotten free of her control, and the longer Chikara remained the avatar of the God of Chaos, the weaker her resistance would become. Chikara would fade away over time - though how long Selena had before that occurred was up in the air. Could have been years or centuries to come, though Selena would no doubt be alive to see it happen at some point. And then quickly perish.

Perhaps. Wouldn't be smiting a god be wonderful?

Jordan interrupted her train of thought. "The drunk and the princess are both missing, you think they're being tested right now?"

Synile and Rhiannon. Right. She'd nearly forgotten. "If they're being tested, they'll come back once their finished. If we drag the whole camp around the woods to find them, we'll just end up getting even more scattered. The stragglers know where we are."

After a few moments of quiet reflection on her personal failure, if it simply hadn't been scripted that way on the witch's part to prove her damn point about chaos, Selena heard approaching footsteps. Rhiannon? No. In fact, not even one of Selena's men. It was a man she had never seen before, and he certainly had the look of a warrior. Leo and Turtlelot were missing. Had they found a lost puppy and escorted it back to camp? She thought she saw them in the distance. Well, they had better feed and take care of the thing.

"Ikiosho," she repeated. "I am Selena Nadir, the leader of Calatia. You may be of assistance by telling me who you are, where you come from, and what you want."

#86 JRPomazon

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 11:46 PM

And now it was time for orientation and possibly confirmation of more challenges. Where the hell do these people COME from? It was all Selena now, might as well let her size up the new company. Jordan placed his spear on the sling on his back and decided to go for a walk and maybe find someone. The guides were all awake it seemed, keeping to themselves and muttering. Jordan wasn't in the mood to be suspicious. He stretched his arms back, stiff from sleeping in his armor once again and entered the brush. He looked up to the stars and felt an internal thought train coming on. Damn it, those are so boring.

Horace came to mind. The image of his beaten body in that cold cell back at Snowpeak, his face captured in perpetual agony. Why did he lose hope? That was a question with an obvious answer, it was all too much for him. It was too much for any of them though, so why was he the only one who left like that?

Because he was human.

Jordan stopped. That wasn't his thought. He placed his hand over his face, fatigue was getting to him. He turned around and headed back, there was going to be a nightmare tonight in his dreams.

#87 Ikiosho

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 09:57 PM

As Ikiosho finished his request, the young man packed his things and left the camp.

"Ikiosho, I am Selena Nadir, the leader of Calatia. You may be of assistance by telling me who you are, where you come from, and what you want," so the woman replied.

"I am a young warrior, from a forgotten island not too far from here. We were a divided people, training for the day that all clans would fight for control of a new kingdom. When the day for revolution came, I found my people were far outnumbered and we were taken for slaves by the rival clan who dominated the world we knew. I trained and plotted with several warriors to overthrow our oppressors, and we were found out and chased from the island. I seek a new leadership to serve myself to, ma'am."

He shifts in place uncomfortably, he never liked seeming so vulnerable. But hey, what can you do when you have no one and nowhere to go to?

#88 Sir Turtlelot

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 03:44 AM

“This whole thing started with the attack on Olimandias. In my opinion, Chikara was probably hiding in the Tower of the Gods, waiting for something to happen or for the Alliance to kill off the rest of the Coalition Domain members. Since I was under orders from Steel, who’s now a high-ranking official in Koridai, to get out of the city with as many men as possible, I did not witness any of the chaos that took place in Olimandias besides the initial raid.” Leo stopped to throw a rock into the ocean. “But during that period of time between our attack and the end, something happened in the Tower. By some foul means, Lazu was able to create an avatar out of Chikara, and thus used her to rain doom upon Verden. Thousands of people died; not very people made it out unless they were very lucky. From there, the rest of the continent was destroyed; Ikana Canyon was flooded; the Lost Woods were razed to the ground; and the Forsaken Fortress was destroyed in the boiling of the Lalvican Sea. From there, these two new realms were established, and we’ve been fighting each other for more than two years.”

Turtlelot had dealt with super-beings before in the past, and all of them had some kind of weakness. If it wasn't something that was damaging to them, then it was usually something personal to them, like their pride or overconfidence in their own ability. Apparently Chikara's was some weapon that they were currently looking for. Let's hope we find that weapon before it's too late. Who knows what damage she could do if we take too long.

“Come on; let’s get back to the camp before they start wondering where we’ve gone to.” Leo said.

"Agreed" said Turtlelot. Once they had returned to camp, Turtlelot saw that Ikiosho had approached the camp and was now talking to Selena. Let's hope all goes well between those two, the boy has great potential. he thought to himself. As Turtlelot walked to the tree to resume meditating, he noticed something was wrong with the camp. He looked around trying to figure out what exactly it was. Then it hit him, Rhia was missing. He looked around the camp a few more times, just to be sure she hadn't moved. Still, she was nowhere to be seen. Turtlelot began to fear for the safety of his friend, but then realized that she could be going through her trial, and if that was the case then he could not interfere.

Turtlelot came to his decision on the matter. I will resume meditating, and if she is not back by the time I awake again, then I will go out looking for her. Turtlelot sat back down at the base of the tree from before and resumed his meditation.

#89 Crimson Lego

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 12:32 PM

Having trailed behind Turtlelot as they returned to the camp, Leo found himself walking slowly along the dirt path, thinking about the future of the world as he went. What will happen to us after this war is over? he pondered. Will the victor of this just go and keep expanding into the world? The general had no doubt that Calatia would take over most of Verden and expand its alliance with the country of Virrat, but there was also another possibility he had to consider. What if Koridai won? What will happen to the world then? Picturing the events of the Cataclysm in his mind, Leo was certain that the power of Lazu would spread across the land to infect others, just as it had done to the Eagle’s Talons and those within it. Another Olimandias, then, with more blood an death flowing from the cities. Sighing, he placed his hands against a tree, resting his weary and battered body on it. By all means, the dwarf would do everything within his power to make sure the Empire did not win. Unfortunately, this seems like the only option we have; I really wish the witch had been more forward with us in Virrat about this whole mission thing. Southern tip wasn’t exactly very clear.

Continuing walking forward, Leo quickly reached the campsite where the other Calatians and Jordan were; he was mildly surprised to see the man that Turtlelot had faced down talking with Selena. Feeling the instinct to grab any nearby weapon and be ready for an attack, he merely inhaled deeply and walked towards his ‘leaf bed’. Sitting down on the soft material, the dwarf sighed and rested against the tree. He noticed that the newcomer looked rather uncomfortable, shifting from foot to foot. Is that a sign of nervousness? Shaking his head, Leo lay down on the leaves and closed his eyes.

A second after the eyelids dropped, a man was shaking him. “Sir?” whispered a voice. “Are you awake?”

Opening his eyes, Leo glanced up at the Snakehead. “What is it, Frenchie?” he asked impatiently. “I’m tired, alright?”

Oddly, the man seemed rather…nervous. “The guides disappeared, General. They’ve been gone for over an hour; I can’t find them at all.”

“You’re joking, right?” With that, the dwarf got to his feet, grabbing his nearby rifle.

“No, sir. They were here when Lady Selena and the spearman were talking; after I came back from looking for food, they disappeared. Even their beds are gone.”

Now genuinely concerned for the safety of the men and his companions, Leo wordlessly strode towards the nearest bush, the Snakehead quick on his heels. Brushing past the thick branches that stood in his way, he was unable to find any trace of the guides in the direction he was currently headed in. Could they have just gone out for a little party of there own? Am I being paranoid again, just like earlier today? Instantly, the dwarf knew he was not. Having been studying and talking to the guides for most of the day, he could tell they were not the kind of people that would just disappear or go partying. Then what happened to them? Were they kidnapped?

Nearly tripping over a large root, Leo cursed under his breath and was about to kick it aside; he then realized that it was Bob’s musket he had nearly fallen over. Knelling down, he picked it up and saw something on the butt of the gun that made his hair stand up straight.

Blood.

Breathing heavily, the general got up to his feet slowly, tossing the gun aside. “Get back to the camp and contact the others,” he ordered. “Set up a 5 yard perimeter around the camp; nobody gets in at all without a guide. If you happen to see them, say that I’m looking for them.”

“Yes, sir,” replied the Snakehead, rushing back off in the opposite direction.

Taking a shortcut through the forest to the camp, Leo emerged near the campfire, his rifle gripped tightly in both hands. Once Selena was done with talking to the newcomer about whatnot, he would inform her of the problem and then wait for her next command.

#90 Selena

Selena

    Odinsdottir

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 11:34 PM

She noticed Leo and Turtlelot return to camp out of the corner of one eye. One or both of them must have lured Ikiosho to their camp after convincing him to join up. It had been a productive week for Selena and Calatia. Between Jordan, Turtlelot, and the other various new people, Calatia practically had recruits falling out of the sky itself. However, Jordan had the ability to destroy entire palaces with his wind abilities and Turtlelot was made out of metal. They were valuable assets. Ikiosho seemed like a mere mortal. A mere mortal that had lost his last great battle.

Selena repressed a wince at that thought, as the sting of her failed trial hadn't healed in the slightest. Fine. Losing a fight did not necessarily mean someone was weak - just in a bad situation. Or in the case of that damn witch, a scripted, biased fight. Stupid old bi--- oh, she was getting off track again. She had to evaluate Ikiosho. Did he even know anything about Calatia and their war? Maybe one of the others had informed him.

"A wandering warrior," Selena said. She stared at him for a moment and then reached into her pack. She pulled out an apple and turned it in her hands. "Well, you can't expect me to take you in without some kind of evaluation. I notice you have a bow. We don't have many specialist archers in our army. A few teams with rifles, but they're often slow to reload and prone to mechanical failure. Bows are simple, elegant, and just as deadly as firearms in the right hands. More importantly, they're silent. Our enemies outnumber us and are equipped with more sophisticated weapons. We have to do things discreetly. I would trust a specialist archer to take out high value targets from a distance and in silence."

She threw the apple into the air and caught it again.

"Of course, most archers aren't that good. I'll make a deal with you. If you can hit this apple, then I'll treat you as a specialist. You'll have more autonomy and freedom than the average soldier. You'll be assigned to high risk missions. If you can't hit this apple, then there's always a spot for you in one of our standard combat groups."

Selena went still.

"Knock an arrow."

With that warning, she flung the apple high into the air and waited to see the results.




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